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Unit outline_

EXSS3062: Motor Control and Learning

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit provides students with a broad overview of motor control and learning with the aim of stimulating students to think about the mechanisms of normal human movement. Both a behavioural and a neurophysiological approach are taken to understand the acquisition and execution of skilled motor actions. The behavioural approach is directed at the process of optimizing the learning of skills. Meanwhile the neurophysiological approach is directed at the neuromuscular machinery and the functional neural connections which enable skill-acquisition to occur.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Movement Sciences
Credit points 6
Prerequisites
? 
Completion of 48 credit points
Corequisites
? 
None
Prohibitions
? 
EXSS2025
Assumed knowledge
? 

None

Available to study abroad and exchange students

No

Teaching staff

Coordinator Suzi Edwards, suzi.edwards@sydney.edu.au
Lecturer(s) Stephen Cobley, stephen.cobley@sydney.edu.au
Suzi Edwards, suzi.edwards@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Online MCL Final Exam
Two components: Part A 1 hr MCQ's; Part B 1 hr Long-Answer Questions.
45% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Assignment Canvas Lecture Quizzes (MC2-6 + ML2-6)
Five (5) Canvas lecture quizzes with 1% each in weeks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
5% Multiple weeks
Due date: 23 Sep 2022 at 08:00

Closing date: 23 Sep 2022
6 multiple questions per lecture quiz
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment group assignment Motor Skill Learning Project Video - Group Assignment
Motor Skill Learning Project - Group work.
15% Week 11
Due date: 21 Oct 2022 at 23:59

Closing date: 21 Oct 2022
4 - minute video summary
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Assignment group assignment Motor Skill Learning Project - Group Written Assignment
Group Written Assignment
35% Week 12
Due date: 28 Oct 2022 at 23:59

Closing date: 28 Oct 2022
2,500 words +- 10%
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

Canvas Lecture Quizzes: This assessment includes 5 short online quizzes based on lecture content delivered in Week 2-6 (inclusive) of the semester. Each lecture Quiz opens immediately after the lecture and closes two week after the lecture.

Motor Skill Learning Project: This major unit assessment is centred around a skill learning project where students design and implement an evidence-based program to teach a new skill to a peer. This assessment has two cumulative submissions, a video component, and then a more detailed summary report.

End of Semeser Exam (Record +): The end of term online exam comprises a combination of multiple-choice (x70) and long-answer (x2) questions covering lecture content delivered throughout the semester.

Assessment Submission Requirements: Please note an attempt at each assessment listed – reflected by respective submission – is required. In other words, candidates cannot attain an overall percentage and attainment grade, if they have not submitted in one (or more) of the unit assessments. 

Note: More detailed information related to each individual assessment can be found on the EXSS3062 Canvas site. 

Assessment criteria

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 MC1: Introduction: Defining motor control, motor learning, measurement & performance. Lecture (1 hr) LO6
ML1: Introduction: The Constraints-based Framework for Skill-Acquisition. Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Introduction: Assignment of practical experiment topics; Completion of Experiment 1: Mental & physical practice in motor learning; Overview of presentation guidelines. Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 02 MC2: Acquiring Sensory Information: Sensory input to motor control – Touch, Muscle spindles & GTOs. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3
ML2: Stages of learning & transitions with skill acquisition. Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Experiment 2: Augmented feedback & physical guidance; Experiment 3: The effect of practice on dual-task performance. Tutorial (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 03 MC3: Acquiring Sensory Information: Sensory input to motor control – Joint receptors, efference copy & internal models Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
ML3: Individual (organismic) factors affecting skill acqusition. Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO5
Strategies for experiment evaluation and question presentation; Group activity preparation for questions; Information & strategies for motor learning project planning & methodology. Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO6
Week 04 MC4: Acquiring Sensory Information: Sensory input to motor control – Balance & vision. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
ML4: Practice structure in skill acquisition 1. Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6
Presentation of mini-experiment findings (small-group activity); Introduction to motor skill learning project. Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 05 MC5: Acquiring sensory information: Situational problems & Q & A revision Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
ML5: Introduction to Video Recording & Analysis for Motor Skill Learning Project Lecture (1 hr) LO4 LO6
Developing the Motor Skill Learning Project Plan - Submit a 2-page project plan. Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 06 MC6: Processing Sensory Information: Understanding sensory-efferent processing via time analysis. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
ML6: Practice structure in skill acquisition 2 Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 07 MC7: Processing Sensory Information: The need and role for attention. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
ML7: Types of feedback and their influence on skill acquisition 1. Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 MC8: Processing Sensory Information: The need for neural signalling with short & long-term memory storage areas. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
ML8: Types of feedback and their influence on skill acquisition 2 Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
MCL Group Training Project: Progress Check Tutorial; Instruction briefing for group project video submission and project presentations. Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 09 MC9: Motor Control: Movement control hierarchy, coordination & synergies. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
ML9: Errors in skill acquisition & performance 1 Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 10 MC10: Movement Energetics & Organization: Regulation of muscle force. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
ML10: Errors in skill acquisition and performance 2 Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 11 MC11: Movement Energetics & Organization Muscular recruitment & energetic changes with skill learning. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
ML11: Changes in skill acquisition across the lifespan 1 Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO5
Group Motor Skill Learning Project Presentation (including final skill performance). Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 12 MC12: Movement Energetics & Organization: The speed-accuracy trade-off. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
ML12: Changes in skill acquisition across the lifespan 2 Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO5
Week 13 MC13: A review of Motor Control + Exam Preparation. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
ML13: A review of Motor Learning + Exam Preparation. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Lecture Attendance: The lectures are on campus and scheduled to occur before your tutorial on the same day.

Tutorial Attendance: The tutorials are on campus in the Susan Wakil Health Building. Tutorial attendance is a compulsory requirement in the unit. Attendance is necessary to complete and understand experimental tasks, complete data review and analysis in small groups, and present during tutorials. These activities all help prepare and build toward group work activity completed as part of the Motor Skill Learning project assessment.

Assessment Submission Requirements: Please note an attempt at each assessment listed is required. In other words, candidates cannot attain an overall unit percentage and grade if they have not made a submission attempt in each unit assessment.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

See Reading List within the EXSS3062 Canvas site

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Explain the structure and function of sensory receptors as they relate to the control of voluntary and involuntary movement.
  • LO2. Explain the energetic and information processes within efferent neuromuscular activity governing voluntary movement.
  • LO3. Explain and evaluate core theoretical models and hypothetical explanations as they apply to motor control and motor skill learning situations.
  • LO4. Identify and explain how individual constraints and preexisting functioning influences implementation of pedagogical motor skill learning strategies.
  • LO5. Critically explain appropriate application of pedagogical motor learning strategies so as to maximise motor skill learning in performance and clinical contexts.
  • LO6. Design, implement, and evaluate motor skill training environments (& program) to optimise a client’s motor skill development in a task situation.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9

Alignment with Competency standards

Outcomes Competency standards
LO1
Accredited Exercise Scientist Professional Standards (2022) - ESSA
10.2.1. Describe the structure and function of the neuromuscular and sensory systems as they relate to the control of voluntary and involuntary movement and motor learning.
LO2
Accredited Exercise Scientist Professional Standards (2022) - ESSA
10.2.1. Describe the structure and function of the neuromuscular and sensory systems as they relate to the control of voluntary and involuntary movement and motor learning.
10.2.2. Explain the changes in motor function that may occur with motor learning and development across the lifespan.
10.2.4. Discuss the common theoretical models proposed to explain motor control and the processes of motor learning.
6.2.4. Describe the structural, physiological, motor and psychosocial developmental changes across the lifespan, and the effect, and timing of, physical activity and exercise to elicit change.
LO3
Accredited Exercise Scientist Professional Standards (2022) - ESSA
10.2.3. Identify the strengths and limitations of techniques to assess processes of motor learning and motor control.
10.2.4. Discuss the common theoretical models proposed to explain motor control and the processes of motor learning.
LO4
Accredited Exercise Scientist Professional Standards (2022) - ESSA
10.2.2. Explain the changes in motor function that may occur with motor learning and development across the lifespan.
10.2.3. Identify the strengths and limitations of techniques to assess processes of motor learning and motor control.
10.2.5. Assess aspects of an individual’s motor function in physical activity and exercise contexts including applying risk management and risk assessment concepts associated with the motor learning and control of exercise science.
10.2.6. Design motor learning environments and protocols to maximise each individual’s specific motor learning and control outcomes, as appropriate in physical activity and exercise contexts.
14.2.1. Describe the primary types, applications and limitations of qualitative and quantitative research study designs.
14.2.4. Cite the research of others in written and oral communication
14.2.5. Select and apply basic data analysis techniques appropriate to exercise science subdisciplines.
6.2.4. Describe the structural, physiological, motor and psychosocial developmental changes across the lifespan, and the effect, and timing of, physical activity and exercise to elicit change.
LO5
Accredited Exercise Scientist Professional Standards (2022) - ESSA
10.2.4. Discuss the common theoretical models proposed to explain motor control and the processes of motor learning.
10.2.5. Assess aspects of an individual’s motor function in physical activity and exercise contexts including applying risk management and risk assessment concepts associated with the motor learning and control of exercise science.
10.2.6. Design motor learning environments and protocols to maximise each individual’s specific motor learning and control outcomes, as appropriate in physical activity and exercise contexts.
2.2.1.1. Describe biomechanical principles and how they relate specifically to the analysis of various forms of human movement to demonstrate an understanding of movement analysis knowledge and skills
2.2.5. Choose and apply appropriate communication to explain scientific data and movement techniques to clients and other professionals.
LO6
Accredited Exercise Scientist Professional Standards (2022) - ESSA
10.2.4. Discuss the common theoretical models proposed to explain motor control and the processes of motor learning.
10.2.5. Assess aspects of an individual’s motor function in physical activity and exercise contexts including applying risk management and risk assessment concepts associated with the motor learning and control of exercise science.
10.2.6. Design motor learning environments and protocols to maximise each individual’s specific motor learning and control outcomes, as appropriate in physical activity and exercise contexts.
14.2.1. Describe the primary types, applications and limitations of qualitative and quantitative research study designs.
14.2.2. Use research databases to access peer-reviewed scientific literature and conduct searches to identify relevant information.
14.2.3. Appraise research methods and reports, including statistical results to understand methodological and ethical aspects of research, and integrate this knowledge into all areas of exercise science practice.
14.2.4. Cite the research of others in written and oral communication
14.2.5. Select and apply basic data analysis techniques appropriate to exercise science subdisciplines.
2.2.2. Apply the principles of the biomechanical analysis of human movement to activities of daily living across a broad range of populations.
2.2.3. Analyse biomechanical problems and develop and implement relevant intervention strategies to the movement context.
2.2.5. Choose and apply appropriate communication to explain scientific data and movement techniques to clients and other professionals.
4.2.4. Apply the principles of motor control and learning, functional anatomy and biomechanics to assess movement and to recognise dysfunctional movement patterns and unsafe exercise technique.
Accredited Exercise Scientist Professional Standards (2022) -
Competency code Taught, Practiced or Assessed Competency standard
1.2.1 T P A Apply knowledge and skills in a variety of professional exercise science work settings.
10.2.1 T P A Describe the structure and function of the neuromuscular and sensory systems as they relate to the control of voluntary and involuntary movement and motor learning.
10.2.2 T P A Explain the changes in motor function that may occur with motor learning and development across the lifespan.
10.2.3 T P A Identify the strengths and limitations of techniques to assess processes of motor learning and motor control.
10.2.4 T P A Discuss the common theoretical models proposed to explain motor control and the processes of motor learning.
10.2.5 T P A Assess aspects of an individual’s motor function in physical activity and exercise contexts including applying risk management and risk assessment concepts associated with the motor learning and control of exercise science.
10.2.6 T P A Design motor learning environments and protocols to maximise each individual’s specific motor learning and control outcomes, as appropriate in physical activity and exercise contexts.
11.2.2 T P Identify the strengths and limitations of commonly used methods for measuring and analysing dietary intake and body composition.
11.2.5 T P A Describe the evidence for the efficacy of common nutritional supplements and ergogenic aids and demonstrate awareness of prescribed or illegal supplements.
14.2.1 T P A Describe the primary types, applications and limitations of qualitative and quantitative research study designs.
14.2.2 T P A Use research databases to access peer-reviewed scientific literature and conduct searches to identify relevant information.
14.2.3 T P A Appraise research methods and reports, including statistical results to understand methodological and ethical aspects of research, and integrate this knowledge into all areas of exercise science practice.
14.2.4 T P A Cite the research of others in written and oral communication
2.2.1.1 T P A Describe biomechanical principles and how they relate specifically to the analysis of various forms of human movement to demonstrate an understanding of movement analysis knowledge and skills
2.2.2 T P A Apply the principles of the biomechanical analysis of human movement to activities of daily living across a broad range of populations.
2.2.3 T P A Analyse biomechanical problems and develop and implement relevant intervention strategies to the movement context.
2.2.5 T P A Choose and apply appropriate communication to explain scientific data and movement techniques to clients and other professionals.
2.2.6 T P A Identify specific aspects of movement patterns important for performance improvement and injury prevention.
4.2.4 T P A Apply the principles of motor control and learning, functional anatomy and biomechanics to assess movement and to recognise dysfunctional movement patterns and unsafe exercise technique.
6.2.4 T P A Describe the structural, physiological, motor and psychosocial developmental changes across the lifespan, and the effect, and timing of, physical activity and exercise to elicit change.

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

We have revised the unit learning outcomes and re-mapped the unit to Accredited Exercise Scientist Professional Standards (2022) to ensure student knowledge and application of this unit to professional practice. In Semester 2 we will continue to implement the new motor skill learning project framework and marking rubric introduced in Semester 1 that supported student learning and optimise their learning.

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